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A Great New Pitching Chart
By: Cindy Bristow
Do you chart every single pitch and end up with a chart looking like one of Einstein’s physics formulas? Or you don’t have time to do anything with all the info but you keep on charting? Then find a quick and easy answer to your charting problems.
Charting anything should give you information that’s fast and accurate – otherwise it’s a waste of time! If you end up with a bunch of information that you never have time to use then what good is it? Discover an amazing pitching chart that is not only simple, but also extremely powerful for your pitchers.
During this past Women’s College World Series I met with a dear friend of mine – Missy Lombardi, Assistant Coach from University of Oklahoma – who is one of the best pitching minds in the business. Missy is always finding better ways to do things and we enjoy bouncing ideas off each other. During this discussion Missy showed me a very simple, and yet amazingly effective way of charting pitches she’d come up with that we both felt was fantastic.
While it doesn’t really have a name, I call it Above the Line Charting as that’s basically the whole goal, to keep things “above the line” – you’ll see what I mean in a second. Tracking results & information – or charting – has become a psychotic obsession in our game now and it’s not going away anytime soon, nor should it. But I find that too many people spend too much time charting and never really do much with the finished product. Time is an issue for all of us and one of the things I find so incredible about this Above the Line Charting is that it’s so simple and all the information you need is immediately apparent without having to translate it, print it out, or otherwise further process the charted info.
Let’s take a quick look at a few innings that Monica Abbot recently pitched when the USA National Softball beat Australia in the Finals of the KFC World Cup of Softball.
At first glance this Above the Line Charting might look confusing but keep these simple principles in mind:
It’s really that simple. That’s one thing I really love about this – it’s really simple and yet very powerful. So just based on these 6 principles we can tell the following from looking at this Above the Line chart:
For many of our pitchers this might be enough information to help them see just how often they are “getting ahead” since it’s actually showing pitches in the form of a picture.
But for many of us, this just isn’t enough information so of course we’ve got to make even the simple more complex! And, without doing that to the degree that this type of “simple chart” loses its effectiveness, here’s what I’ve done to provide just a little more necessary detail without getting so much information it’s all a big fat useless mess.
I’ve broken this now-more-cluttered chart into 3 different parts, so let’s talk about each one:
Whether you ever end up using this type of simplified pitching chart or not, I don’t know, but I do hope that I’ve stretched your mind a bit to the possibility of finding a different way of doing the same thing. Missy is the one that helped me find this method and like I said, I’ve shared it with a number of coaches since then and the overwhelming feedback is they love it for its simplicity and for how powerful it is for their pitchers
For more information on charting check out the following:
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"I wanted to let you know that I bought two of the hitting pods for my daughter, in order to help her develop better drive off the pitching rubber. Turning her drive foot was not as much of an issue as the collapse of her foot so that she would drag deeply on the side of it, getting stuck back. It has been really hard to get rid of this habit. I have just started using the pod drill that you recommended, and I believe that there is already an improvement. It keeps her foot forward so she drives straight, but also has the added benefit of getting her up on her toe, so that she can tell what it should feel like. As an aside- you should know that I have tried many different "gadgets" to try to help with this problem- so much so that my daughter rolls her eyes when I bring out something new- after her first practice with the pod, the second practice she was like "mom, I want to use the pod". That is my own personal barometer of something that truly has potential to help! Anyway, I am keeping my fingers crossed- and wanted to let you know that this has really been an excellent tool (especially when combined with the instruction of driving the back knee in to the front one, that you have also recommended.) I hope that this will allow her to be more balanced and gain the speed that she is physically capable of. Thank you." - Siobhan Corbett, M.D.
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